Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Bourbon Curious Author Fred Minnick Coming to Town for Angel Wings' Bella Bourbon Bash

Posted By on Tue, Oct 13, 2015 at 8:30 AM

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Fred Minnick is a spirits writer based out of Louisville, which is basically the center of the bourbon universe. He has written a new book, Bourbon Curious, which I think is an essential addition to the library of any fan of great whiskey. Subtitled A Simple Tasting Guide for the Savvy Drinker, Minnick's book is a fantastic combination of the history of bourbon, a detailed description of the sources of flavors created through the distilling and aging process and a guide to scientific tasting of spirits in general.

Minnick certainly knows his way around a whiskey bottle and his palate is formidable, evidenced by his experience as a judge at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. Bourbon Curious concludes with a fairly exhaustive listing of bourbons from Kentucky and beyond, accompanied by Minnick's detailed tasting notes. But he doesn't just offer his opinions as proclamations from on high. Instead, he questions the reader to help him or her think about the experience of tasting and to encourage the development of individual palates. 

Organized helpfully by specific characteristics such as grain-forward whiskeys, nutmeg-forward, caramel-forward and cinnamon-forward, Minnick's book is helpful in discovering exactly what it is that you like about a particular spirit and then suggesting others that share those elements that you might want to try. Do you like the Christmas spices evident in Woodford Reserve? Then you might want to try Weller Antique 107, which Minnick offers has some pumpkin-spice-latte notes on the finish. A fan of Buffalo Trace's powerful caramel notes? Try Eagle Rare for a special treat in the same flavor family.

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Sinema Announces Allie Crowe as Pastry Chef

Posted By on Tue, Oct 13, 2015 at 7:15 AM

click to enlarge The Honey Honey at Sinema
  • The Honey Honey at Sinema
Fresh off a win as the Nashville Scene’s readers’ pick for best dessert, Sinema has announced Allie Crowe as pastry chef at the restaurant. Crowe joined the staff — headed by executive chef Dale Levitski — when the restaurant opened as a pastry cook. Over the course of the past year, Crowe has been responsible for many of the restaurant’s prize-winning sweets and will now oversee the entire pastry menu, including the brunch baked goods and the “sugar board,” Sinema’s selection of bite-size shareable desserts. The cereal-based pastries featuring Froot Loops and Cookie Crisp, among others, are some of her more popular creations.

Prior to joining the team at Sinema, Crowe served as a pastry cook in New York City at Dean and DeLuca, The Dutch, and ABC Kitchen, as well as at The Ranchers Club and Cocoflow Chocolate Shop in Oklahoma. Crowe moved here last year to join Sinema, as her husband, Vasisht Ramasubramanian, joined Chauhan Ale & Masala House as chef de cuisine.

Chef Crowe’s current seasonal dessert at Sinema is the Honey Honey, a spiced baked Honeycrisp apple with cashew sassafras baklava vanilla ice cream (pictured).

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Monday, October 12, 2015

Vegan Bakery and Cafe Khan's Desserts Closing Sunday Oct. 18

Posted By on Mon, Oct 12, 2015 at 5:03 PM

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Khan's Desserts broke the bad news via Facebook this weekend: They're closing their doors Sunday, Oct. 18. Here's what they say:
Our Beloved Customers and Community: It is with much sadness that we announce that Khan’s will be closing it’s doors on Sunday the 18th of October. It has been our pleasure to serve the community since 2011, first by making the desserts for the Wild Cow, Jamaicaway, and Imagine (Memphis), and then by opening the doors to our own restaurant in January 2013. We have felt our customers to be part of our lives as we are part of theirs: making cakes for their children’s birthday each time they grow a year older, helping new vegans and the curious to learn about plant based foods, witnessing your highlights like graduations and weddings, as well as the ordinary routines of daily meals and TGIF cupcakes. Khan’s has outgrown our small space, but the rent has gone up greatly, and without partnership or investment, we are unable to move to another location. We want to thank all of you for your business and your friendship.
It was just back in February that Scene food writer Carrington Fox praised shop owner Karina Khan's desserts and "cheerful" boutique, saying, "It might be the intensity of flavor that sets Khan's cupcakes above other cakes of their genre. Essences of lavender, pomegranate and lemon burst like flowers unfolding in the buttercream. Ah, but that's the trick: It's not actually butter-cream. After all, this is a vegan bakery, where animal products are verboten."

If you need to get one more fix (or two or three or four), the shop will be open Tues.-Thurs. 11 a.m.-7 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.-9 p.m. and Sun. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Khan's also plans on having a get-together, which will be open to the public, after closing on Sunday. Stay tuned to their Facebook for further announcements.

We'll miss you, Khan's, and your magical non-butter buttercream.

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Win Two Tickets to Taste of Nashville on Oct. 23

Posted By on Mon, Oct 12, 2015 at 3:08 PM

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It's time for one of Music City's premier food tasting events, as Taste of Nashville returns to Rocketown (601 Fourth Ave. S.) on Friday, Oct. 23. The event is presented by the Phoenix Club of Nashville and Ryman Hospitality. Taste of Nashville benefits The Boys & Girls Club of Middle Tennessee and Junior Achievement of Middle Tennessee, and will feature food and drink samples from some of Nashville's favorite eating and drinking establishments. 

Exhibitors who will be offering Samples Include Hattie B’s, Acme, The Southern, Moto, Virago, Saint Anejo, 51st Kitchen, Flip Burger, Patterson House, Embers Ski Lodge, Goo Goo Cluster, Blushing Berry, Urban Grub and others. There will also be a open bar plus music by The Chris Weaver Band and LaTresa & The Signal.

It'll be a long night of eating and drinking, as the event runs from 7 p.m. until the wee hours of 1 a.m. The event is 21-and-up (open bar, remember?) and tickets are $100. To buy tickets or find out more information, visit the event website. Or even better, if you'd like to win a free pair of tickets, just leave a comment about which restaurant has you most excited to attend. We'll draw a lucky winner this Friday at noon, and you'll be on the way to the party, courtesy of the organizers of Taste of Nashville.

Good luck!

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Nashville Pink Boots Society Releases Second Special Brew

Posted By on Mon, Oct 12, 2015 at 11:18 AM

Nashville's chapter of the Pink Boots Society — the organization of women involved in the brewing industry — has recently followed up their first fund-raiser brewing with a new release that they are calling "Wet Hoppertunity." The ladies got together on Sept. 14 to brew 30 kegs of beer together at Tennessee Brew Works, this time using 120 lbs. of fresh Chinook hops donated by Hop Head Farms in Michigan.

Wet hopping of a beer is a rare occurrence, especially down here in the South where we don't grow many hops. The result is a Harvest Ale with delightfully strong flavors and aromas of pine, mint and spices. The beer was kegged at the end of last month and is being distributed to breweries, taprooms, bars and restaurants by DET Distributing. Thanks to the cooperation of DET and the venues selling it, it shouldn't be too hard to find at a favorite spot for most Bites readers. After the jump, you can find a list of spots to get your hops on.

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Music and Molasses Festival This Weekend at the Tennessee Agricultural Museum

Posted By on Mon, Oct 12, 2015 at 9:33 AM

  • Tennessee Agricultural Museum on Facebook
This weekend, celebrate middle Tennessee’s music and craft heritage at the Music and Molasses Festival at the Tennessee Agricultural Museum. The event takes place on the grounds of the museum, which is located at the Ellington Agricultural Center, right off I-65 and Harding Place.

Along with music and molasses, there will also be demonstrations of numerous crafts and produce. Folks will be on site making pottery, wood crafts, rugs, brooms and soaps as well as operating working sorghum and grist mills and a blacksmithing forge. You can sample sorghum molasses and apple butter as it’s made and purchase jams, jellies, candies, yarn and other crafts, baked goods, and produce from the makers.

For the kids, there will be a special area called “Farmer for a Day” with a variety of farm activities and farm animals as well as pony rides. There’s also a cookie-baking contest on Saturday for kids under 18 who can make the best molasses or sorghum cookies (see the Facebook post for details on entry).

Check out the history of the museum and all that’s included on their website for more information. Admission to the festival also includes access to the special exhibit of "Painted Wings and Delicate Things," a display of thousands of butterflies and moths. There’s also a new exhibit at the museum on honeybees that is also included with festival admission.

Tickets are $6 per person, but kids age 4 and younger get in free. All proceeds benefit agricultural educational programming at the Tennessee Agricultural Museum. See more details below

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Friday, October 9, 2015

Author Dave Hoekstra to Preview Southern Festival Appearance at Swett's

Posted By on Fri, Oct 9, 2015 at 10:28 AM

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In this week's Scene, Jim Ridley points readers to what should prove to be a fascinating panel discussion — on Sunday at noon, Angela Jill Conley, Charles Hughes and Dave Hoekstra will discuss "how Southern food and music affected the politics of the Jim Crow era." Hoekstra is a Chicago Sun Times columnist and the author of The People's Place: Soul Food Restaurants and Reminiscences From the Civil Rights Era to Today. To add to the coolness of the book, Chaka Khan wrote the forward, so you know it's funky.

His book features a chapter on Nashville, and includes information on our city's role during the civil rights struggle, particularly some of the earliest lunch counter sit-ins in the South. One of the participants in the protests was Patricia J. Armstrong, and she'll be joining Hoekstra for a special book-signing event this afternoon at Swett's, whose owner David Swett was also interviewed for the book.

From 2:00 until 4:00 this afternoon (Friday, Oct. 9), Hoekstra, Armstrong and Swett will be on hand to discuss their participation in the book, which also includes vintage photos from the Nashville Banner's collection at the Civil Rights Room from the downtown library and even the recipe for Swett's fried chicken. (That's reason enough to buy the book!)

The restaurant will also be offering free food to attendees, so make your way over to Swett's flagship location at 2725 Clifton Avenue. (Not the airport Swett's — you'd need a boarding pass to visit that one.)

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Weekly Open Thread: How Do You Feel About This Year's Best of Nashville Results?

Posted By on Fri, Oct 9, 2015 at 8:43 AM

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Have you seen this week's Scene? It's HUGE! Our annual Best of Nashville issue is a fat 244 pages and it only came together after several weeks of writing, editing and organizing (and a few very late nights of eating junk food and laughing at jokes that are only funny after a certain amount of sleep deprivation). Obviously I'm biased, but I think it looks pretty damn great.

The Food & Drink section is one of the biggest of the six featured categories, which makes perfect sense — Music City loves food. In it, we have the results of the readers' poll (click here to see them all), but we also have dozens and dozens of writers' picks, where we highlight our own favorite dishes and restaurants. Deciding who was worthy was not easy, let me tell you. For some of the categories we painstakingly debated until our throats were raw, taking several days and numerous conversations (and some writers even bringing samples of food to the office in order to convince others) to finally declare the winners of Best Restaurant, Best Chef, Best Dessert, etc.

Throughout, in both the readers' polls and writers' picks, there were some big wins (y'all voted Star Bagel as Best Bagel again) and a few upsets (Cupcake Collection had topped Gigi's Cupcakes for Best Cupcake for the last two years, but Gigi's — who has way too much frosting — won this year ... I did not see that coming). But ultimately, even if you may not agree with all the results, the Best of Nashville issue is a pretty fantastic collection of all the amazing people and places that make this city one of the most delicious places in the world. 

That said, how do you feel about the results, Bites readers? Are there any wonderful surprises? Or terrible upsets? Now's your chance to congratulate those who were worthy of the win or defend those who lost.

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Pappy Can Be Found (for a price) at DustyBid.com

Posted By on Fri, Oct 9, 2015 at 7:20 AM

click to enlarge Taste the rainbow, Steve!
  • Taste the rainbow, Steve!
A popular writing topic for our erstwhile news editor Steve Cavendish was his hunt for the elusive holy grail among bourbon collectors, Pappy Van Winkle. Almost impossible to luck into at your local liquor store and rarely spotted on even the most upscale bar menus, Pappy is indeed a tough get.

But that's not to say it's impossible, just ridiculously pricey. On the secondary market, all sorts of rare whiskeys can be found, although eBay is no longer the marketplace of choice for buyers and sellers.

A group of young Kentucky entrepreneurs have seen the opportunity and created their own spirits exchange, which they named DustyBid (dustybid.com). Two DustyBid executives have previous experience dealing with collectible whiskeys, having started the BottleBlueBook, a website dedicated to tracking sales data on collectible spirits. Another executive is a co-publisher of Bourbon Review magazine, so these guys clearly know their brown likker.

BottleBlueBook stores the sales info from multiple sites, but it also links to DustyBid in case you want to actually try to purchase some of the whiskey you've been researching. There are several different sorts of sales available on the site.

Continue reading »

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Thursday, October 8, 2015

Witches and Wine at the Manor to Benefit The Cat Shoppe Rescue

Posted By on Thu, Oct 8, 2015 at 7:10 AM

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Join fellow cat lovers on Monday, Oct. 26, for Witches and Wine at the Manor, a fundraiser for The Cat Shoppe Rescue. 

The festivities begin at 6 p.m. and include a live auction (no, not an auction of live animals, I don't think), live music (also probably performed by humans), hors d'oeuvres and, of course, wine. Guests are invited to dress as witches or cats, but feline attire is not required for entry.

Tickets for the event are just $20 per person and can be purchased at the store or at the door. Proceeds from ticket sales go to The Cat Shoppe's rescue efforts — the Berry Hill shop serves as a cat adoption center in addition to being a gift and pet supply store.

The event takes place at Monell's Manor (the old New Orleans Manor, for those of us who've been around a while — it's a cool place, by the way) on Murfreesboro Road. The first 30 people in the door at the event will receive a goody bag. And if you'd like to donate to the auction, contact the store's owners at 2824 Bransford Ave. or 615-297-7877.

Witches and Wine at the Manor
Monday, Oct. 26
6 to 8:30 p.m.
Monell's Manor
1400 Murfreesboro Road
$20 per person

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